Five brave open-water swimmers completed the first ever crossing of the hippo and crocodile inhabited Jozini Gorge, raising over R70 000 for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation in the process.
The eight kilometre long swim from the gorge mouth to the Jozini Tiger Lodge was closely monitored by a flotilla of escort boats to ensure the safety of the four men and one woman who undertook the crossing on Sunday 21 January in two groups.
At 7:45 am the first group consisting of Jose De Charmoy, Ruth Azran, Mike Oberholser and Andy Stevens set out. The conditions were perfect with little to no wind and welcome cloud cover.
The quicker swimmer Jay Azran set off twenty minutes after the main group, and managed to catch them halfway across the Gorge. The group, flanked by their escort flotilla and the Shayamanzi houseboat then managed to complete the remainder of the swim, making the most of the favourable conditions.
They arrived at the jetty at the Tiger Lodge, completing the eight-kilometre adventure in two hours and forty-one minutes to become the first swimmers to complete the Jozini Gorge crossing.
"We were truly blessed with fantastic conditions, a strong Easterly would have made the swim that much more challenging but luckily this never picked up," said Ruth Azran.
"We did hit a current with about 1,5km to go but only for a short while. "The support from both local and afar has been amazing," she added. "It really all came together on the day. I am over the moon!''
Through personal sponsorships and donations the five swimmers raised over R70 000 for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation. Buoyed by their achievement, they are now planning to make this an annual event
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